What Information Does the Adjuster Need?
You do not have to give adjusters information just because they say you do.
Some things that often prompt a person to call my office are when an insurance adjuster says she can’t continue adjusting a claim until the person gives a recorded statement, his date of birth, his social security number, and/or signs an authorization for the release of his medical records. Well, adjusters can and do handle claims without any of this. I know because I do not allow my clients to provide insurers with any of these things, and I settle claims with them all the time.
Why do insurers want your recorded statement?
Because they hope to get you to say something they can use to later reduce the value of your claim. In car wreck cases there is almost always an official police investigation and report concerning the wreck. That report will have the information an adjuster needs to handle a claim. In cases where there may not be an official investigation and report, for instance some dog bites or trip and falls, you can provide the adjuster with information without it being recorded. So there is no legitimate reason you should ever have to give a recorded statement.
Why do insurers want your date of birth and social security number?
So they can try and gather information that may help them reduce the value of your claim. They won’t tell you that. They may give some excuse like they have to have it to cut you a check. Not true. I had an adjuster recently tell a client “And just for privacy protection, your social please.”
For privacy protection?! Nothing could be farther from the truth. Insurers enter your identifying information into a central claims database with ISO ClaimSearch, a publicly traded company that has no allegiance to you or to protect your personal information. If you are a Medicare beneficiary, the adjuster may tell you federal law requires her to get your SSN. That’s not true either. You never have to give your SSN or date of birth to an adjuster.
Why do insurers want you to sign a medical authorization?
You can get copies of your related medical records and bills and provide them to the adjuster. In fact, that’s what I do.
Medical records contain some of the most private information there is about a person. I don’t trust insurers to safeguard my client’s privacy. If you sign a blank authorization, there is no limit to what records the insurance company can request. I tell adjusters that even if we file suit the court will not make my client sign a medical authorization for them; so I’m sure not having my client sign one to try and settle the claim.
Adjusters can make it sound like they require information when it’s really just something they want to try and reduce the value of your claim or dig around in your private matters. If you are talking to an adjuster and are told you have to do any of these things, you are not being told the truth. Hang up the phone and call me for a free consultation.
Ann-Margaret Perkins is a partner with Perkins Law Firm, L.L.P. practicing personal injury and social security disability, but her claim to fame is being mom to former Southeastern Guide Dogs breeder, Baxter.